Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Years ago, at a party at USC, I talked to a psychiatrist who told me his business picked up around Christmas and Mother’s Day. As I recall, the one was for missed expectations from the past and the other for guilt. I suppose in the latter case people looked back on how they treated their mothers and in the former how Santa Claus treated them. I was reminded of that brief encounter this morning when I realized how quickly Mother’s Day has slipped from the speculation and we are back to the madness that inhabits 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Confusion.
Yesterday on two of my exercise bike runs (I have got to put wheels on that thing so I actually get somewhere), I caught a couple of speculations and talking heads. I was surprised to see the vast difference in reactions to the stories out of the District of Confusion as conservative and non-conservative commentators framed the events and consequences of current events. Then one fellow put it in context for me. Republicans (conservatives) are reactionaries—they react to what liberals and progressives say and do. He went on to explain the Republicans do not have their own policy agenda except to react to the Democrats. Then another fellow likened the Republican response to the pestilence to the Republican response to Nixon. In the Nixon case, up to 2/3rds of the Republicans were with Nixon to the end. That some talking heads are openly calling the pestilence a serial liar and naming him as an inside assault to our republican form of government is a vast change from year ago when they all focused on the pestilence for the entertainment value (which gave him the legitimacy and exposure he needed to get to where he is today). Our only hope is that when he travels abroad, ICE will refuse his readmission to the country.
I would be interested in talking to that psychiatrist again and asking him to filter in the impact of the pestilence’s presidency. However, I suspect he has been doing a land office business and is unable to take the time to attend parties these days.
I trust this finds you healthy, wealthy and of sound mind.
Warmest regards, Ed
025 Close to a Closed Case
Fiction in 832 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
“I made a photocopy of the note we found on the one body that materialized at 38th and Mulberry Streets,” said Captain Batan, pulling a folded piece of paper out of his jacket pocket.” He carefully unfolded it and handed it to Thomas Aldrich Edison and asked, “Did you write this?”
“Yes,” replied Thomas Aldrich Edison. It would have helped immensely if you had simply told me when you got the note.”
Captain Batan laughed out loud. “You and Ms. Choy have come seeking time beacons. As you . . .”
He was interrupted by Thomas Aldrich Edison holding up his hand, “Dr. Choy, she is a Ph.D.”
“I do apologize, Dr. Choy,” said Captain Batan. “But as I was trying to say, when your note came there were no beacons we could activate. Then too there was no indication of when or where Menlo Park is or was. So, we assumed this,” he said, pointing to the note, “was written by “Thomas Alva Edison. You must admit the signatures are spot on.”
Thomas Aldrich Edison positively beamed and nodded his head. “Yes, I practiced that. He was my great-grandfather some 40 generations ago.”
“When we finally got the attention of one of your time travelers,” said Captain Batan, “we went to your great-grandfather’s Menlo Park in 1818 and . . . “
Thomas Aldrich Edison was positively squirming in his chair, “Did you meet him? What is he like?”
“No, we didn’t meet him,” replied Captain Batan, “he was away when we got there. We talked to John Ott and Mr. Ott confirmed the signature was your great-great-grandfather’s, but the rest of the writing was not his.”
Thomas Aldrich Edison calmed down but looked a bit dejected.” Yes,” he replied, Mr. Ott was very close to my great-great-grandfather. They died a few days apart and my great-great-grandmother had Mr. Ott’s wheelchair and crutches placed near my great-great-grandfathers coffin at the funeral. I would like to have met Mr. Ott as well. Both great men.”
“Back to the note,” said Captain Batan. Were the other five that, err, arrived the same way sent by you?”
“Yes,” said Thomas Aldrich Edison. “I tried with five recently deceased individuals. I was attempting resurrection but got time travel.”
“We are still trying to identify where those bodies came from,” said Captain Batan.
“I placed an advertisement,” replied Thomas Aldrich Edison, “asking for recently deceased individuals to participate in a resurrection experiment. A Man came to the door and told me he had access to bodies that had been stored in cryogenics. Since they were preserved at the moment of death, I thought they would do just fine. So, he brought them one at a time in a wheelchair. Each, err, deceased person was accompanied by a document affirming they had agreed to participate in any attempt to bring them back to life. They even had thumbprints on the documents. I have those on the computer.” Thomas Aldrich Edison turned to the computer screen on the table and said, “Computer please show the resuscitation agreement documents for my five volunteers.”
Everyone at the table looked at Thomas Aldrich Edison strangely as he repeated his request, “Computer please show the resuscitation agreement documents for my five volunteers.”
Edith Gunderson broke the silence, “Mr. Edison these computers are in the 21st Century. They are not hooked up to your database or the future.”
Thomas Aldrich Edison pursed his lips and then said, “Silly me, I completely forgot when I am. When I get back, I will have paper copies made and get them back to you Captain.”
Captain Batan looked pensive for a moment. “Does the manner in which you, err, sent us those bodies, work on live people.”
Dr. Choy jumped in, “Yes, I have used it myself. That is why we are here, we need more beacons so we can refine controls for the device. It works on people, living or dead, it may even work on animals. Interesting an external, low-energy time travel alternative to implants, even as in this case, it is one way.”
Edith Gunderson asked, “Why is this important? You already have implants.”
Dr. Choy pointed to Thomas Aldrich Edison. “His great-great-grandfather invented the phonograph, a device that recorded and played back sound on tinfoil cylinders back in 1877. There have been many improvements since. The implants are the first to make low energy time travel possible.”
“I understand completely,” said Edith Gunderson. Looking around she asked, “Where did Mr. Edison and Special Agent Fleishman go?
As if on cue both men materialized. Thomas Aldrich Edison smiled and handed some papers to Captain Batan. “The Special Agent thought it might be a good idea to get the information back to you sooner rather than later. He is right of course.”
Special Agent Fleishman took Outreach Agent Simons’ arm and said, “I think I have a use for a beacon made to resemble a gold coin.”